How to celebrate Chinese New Year in China

photo by Sam Ose/ Olai Skjaervoy

Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration of the year in China, and the longest as well, therefore an occasion for the whole country to have fun and take a break from the worries of day to day life. Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the first month in the Lunar Calendar, and ends on the 15th day, when the famous Lantern Festival takes place. The Chinese New Year is not only an occasion to eat delicious traditional food, see fireworks and attend various events on the street, but also a time of reflection and of family reunions. The best part about celebrating New Year in China is that you get to take part in these interesting customs and traditions, and welcome the new year in the traditional Chinese fashion. Here are some tips on how to celebrate Chinese New Year in China.

Clean the house

The preparations for Chinese New Year begin with thoroughly cleaning your home, in order to banish bad luck and to make space for good fortune in the following year. After cleaning, don’t forget to put away the broom and the dustpan, otherwise the good luck might be swept away! That means that as long as the new year celebrations last, you can’t clean anything in your home!


photo by Augapfel on Flickr

Major holidays always entail lots of decorations, and in the case of Chinese New Year the preferred color for decorating the house is red, which brings good luck. A few red lamps and wall decorations, as well as some lotus flowers (a symbol or rebirth) are more than enough. Bowls of mandarins are also usually placed as decoration, as long as you put an even number of fruits in the bowl.

Have a traditional dinner

The traditional dinner on New Year’s Eve is one of the most important parts of the celebration, and it is the time when families gather in order to celebrate together. The traditional dishes served at the New Year’s Eve dinner vary from region to region, and some families might choose not to eat meat on the first day. A communal hot pot is served almost everywhere, and many of the other dishes have names that rhyme with good luck or other similar words. Buddha’s delight is a widespread dish for this occasion, as are jau gok dumplings (mainly in Cantonese communities), nian gao (in Eastern China), or taro cakes.

Light firecrackers

photo by Roland Tanglao

Firecrackers are a must during Chinese New Year, the louder the better. The loud noise supposedly scares the bad spirits away, so they won’t bring bad luck into the new year. Some families use plastic firecrackers to decorate their homes to ward off the spirits. Parades are usually full of firecrackers, noise and excitement, and they are the liveliest part of the Chinese New Year. Even the smallest town is likely to have a parade, complete with dances and people in resplendent costumes.

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